Two students from Queen Mary University of London's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) were highly commended in the ‘Volunteer Hero’ category at the 2019 St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes Awards, after giving CPR to a stranger on their way home from a night out last December.
Tarhan and Natalia
Natalia Perdek and Tarhan Ibrahim were on their way home when they spotted a woman lying on the floor outside Mudchute DLR Station with two members of the public standing by.
As newly qualified members of Queen Mary’s first aid society, Natalia and Tarhan went over and introduced themselves as first aiders. One of the bystanders handed them the phone so they could speak to the 999 operator.
They quickly checked the patient’s response and breathing; it was clear to the pair that the lady was not breathing at all and was in cardiac arrest. Natalia and Tarhan started life-saving chest compressions and rescue breaths. With no defibrillator nearby, they continued taking turns doing CPR until a London Ambulance Service first responder arrived on scene.
Natalia and Tarhan continued their efforts to save the lady’s life, providing CPR for about an hour. Paramedics were eventually able to get a pulse, and the lady was taken to Barts Hospital.
Our students were worthy recipients of the Highly Commended trophy in the Volunteer Hero category, for showing immense dedication, skill and compassion in very difficult circumstances.
Natalia said: “I hope this will highlight the importance of knowing first aid. Being able to recognise when someone needs help is vital – it allowed us to act with confidence even though we were faced with an incredibly tense and unexpected situation.
“No one else knew what to do, but the training we’d received meant we were able to assess the situation and take appropriate action. I was very grateful to have Tarhan by my side.”
Tarhan said: “Performing CPR for the first time last year has made me appreciate how important it is for people to step in when someone needs help.
“I feel I can really make a difference and help more people in our community – whether it’s encouraging others to learn first aid or helping someone while on duty, it’s definitely made me feel more driven to get involved.”
Tarhan recently graduated from Queen Mary University of London, with a Masters of Science (Biochemistry), and is now undertaking his PhD with Imperial College. Natalia is completing her final year of her Bachelors of Science (Biomedical Science), and is the Unit Manager for the Queen Mary first aid society.
Now in its eighth year, the Everyday Heroes Awards honours individuals, volunteers and teams who step forward in their communities and in the moments that matter to help loved ones, colleagues, customers or even strangers in need.